Women have increasingly joined the upper ranks of the greater Philadelphia region’s largest companies, but a new survey finds the pace of growth has been relatively slow.
The Forum for Executive Women on Friday released its annual Women on Boards report. The study, conducted by Deloitte LLP, showed that the number of women in senior executive positions at the region’s top 100 companies increased by 17 percent from 2005 to 2010, and the number of women directors increased by 4 percent.
However, the growth has been incremental. Eleven percent of board seats at the top 100 companies were held by women in 2010, the same amount as in 2009. As for senior executives, 10.1 percent of those positions were filled by women in 2010, down from 11 percent in 2009. Women accounted for 9.6 percent of top earners at the companies, up from 9 percent the year before.
“As the Forum enters its 35th year, we are certainly pleased that the longer-term trends are moving in the right direction, but we see quite clearly the challenges in making substantive progress from year to year,” said Autumn Bayles, forum president, in a statement announcing the results. She also is senior vice president of strategic operations at Tasty Baking Co.
Bayles said the report shows women leaders don’t rise to their positions by accident, but rather by “a confluence of deliberate, thoughtful acts on the part of both the woman and her employers.”
The statistics were culled from Securities and Exchange Commission filings, and most of the companies surveyed were based in Pennsylvania, though a number of New Jersey-based firms were included.
Camden-based Campbell Soup Co., for instance, had three female directors and three female top executives, two of whom are among the company’s highest earners.
PHH Corp., which is based in Mount Laurel, has one female director, three female top executives and one woman among its top earners.